Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Schork Report predicts gasoline will break $3 per gallon by summer.

US DOE has updated its website listing energy-efficient appliance rebate programs available through state implementations of the Energy Star label.

The Obama administration approved $1.37 billion in federal loan guarantees to help build the world's largest solar power complex in California. The Department of Energy has offered to backstop the loans of BrightSource Energy, the developer of three proposed solar-energy plants in the Mojave desert. If completed, the three BrightSource projects could power 140,000 homes, and nearly double the amount of solar power generated in the United States. Despite a recent scale-back to address environmental concerns, the Ivanpah Valley project is still budgeted at 392 MW. BrightSource estimates that construction will employ about 1,000 people, with operation creating 86 permanent jobs. Bechtel, the engineering and construction contractor for the project, signed a project labor agreement in December 2009 with the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTC) and the Building & Construction Trades Council of San Bernardino and Riverside counties to secure benefits to the local workforce from the project. The project is estimated to provide $400 million in tax revenues to state and local government, and produce $650 million in wages, over the next 30 years. The project will come online in 2012 and 2013.

Worth noting: US Secretary of Energy Chu's Facebook page, focused at the moment on "why we need nuclear".

Bloom boxes still buzzing.

More fallout and analysis of Google's approval for market-based rate authority (MBRA) from FERC. Donald Campbell of Pitt News suggests that Google secured MBRA so it could more effectively buy green power: "Combined with some offshoot ventures previously spawned by Google, energy trading can assist Google in increasing the amount of energy it consumes from renewable sources." Other sources note that Google doesn’t intend to resell energy, but to procure power only for its own use to help it manage energy costs as a whole. Interestingly this 2/22 interview with Google's "green energy czar" Bill Weihl doesn't mention MBRA as a strategy.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Edward G. Rendell has released over $5 million in funding for 13 new solar energy projects (link to Governor's office DOC). Thes projects are receiving funds from the $650 million Alternative Energy Investment Fund that Rendell signed in 2008. They were approved for funding by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

Entergy, operator of the leaking Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, has apparently admitted that there have been prior tritium leaks into groundwater its reactor, including one in 2005.

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